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Pub-watch scheme terminated for Burnham
AN initiative aimed at tackling night-time crime in Burnham says a lack of support has forced it to cancel its pub-watch scheme - ahead of the busiest time of the year.
Andy Sharman, co-ordinator of Somerset Businesses Against Crime (SBAC), announced it was no longer able to run the evening scheme, leaving pubs to fend for themselves just before New Year’s Eve.
He told the Weekly News he is “disappointed” by the lack of support from pubs in the scheme.
He said: “We have been left with no choice but to stop the pub-watch for the Burnham area because the majority of members did not pay their bill.
“We were unable to financially support the costs of admin and exclusions from pubs and venues. We receive no funding and rely on grants and members paying.”
Night-time venues that had signed up to the initiative benefited from access to a radio link. The radio link enabled members to alert other pubs of known trouble-makers in the area and check in with CCTV operators and the police.
Through the scheme, pubs were also able to put extremely troublesome customers on a 12-month exclusions list, preventing them from entering that premises. In major cases, SBAC would work with publicans and police to issue a Drink Banning Order (DBO).
Mr Sharman added: “It’s a shame we’ve had to cancel it in Burnham because that area actually saw the highest number of exclusions in 2013. In Burnham there were nine that year, whereas in Bridgwater there were four and in Taunton there were five.
“Because we have lost the income from the night-time scheme, that will have a knock-on effect on funding the other services we provide to other businesses in the town.
“We deal with monitoring shoplifting for businesses and anti-social behaviour and alcohol related problems for areas such as holiday parks, to ensure they stay safe.”
To ensure the other services continue, SBAC hoped to roll out a smaller watch scheme for farms, forecourts, B&Bs and schools. For more information call 01823-272277.